CIDOB Report nº 5
The COVID-19 crisis has unfolded in an urbanised world in which global interconnections between cities have accelerated and intensified the pandemic’s impact. But cities have also been at the forefront of managing the crisis and responding to citizens’ needs. While national governments initially took the lead in containing the emergency, cities have been tackling many of its on-the-ground socioeconomic repercussions. They have reinforced municipal health infrastructures, reinvented essential services such as transport and waste management, reorganised public space to ensure social distancing, supported local businesses and entrepreneurs, and attended to the most vulnerable. At the same time, urban communities have mobilised countless civil society initiatives to complement and fill the gaps in government action.
This CIDOB Report examines how 12 cities around the world – Milan, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Vienna, Zurich, San Francisco, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Melbourne and Hong Kong – have managed the COVID-19 crisis and provides lessons to help guide urban governance in times of pandemics. Some of the key issues addressed are how decentralisation and multi-stakeholder cooperation are essential to effectively govern complex, uncertain scenarios and generate context-specific responses; the need to rethink cities to make them healthier and more liveable without sacrificing density; how to tackle the impending economic recession and social exclusion without neglecting the commitment to the ecological transition; and why these challenges make international collaboration between cities more important than ever.
Key Words: COVID-19, cities, urban crisis, urban actions, Coronavirus crisis
Managing a global pandemic. Towards more sustainable and resilient urban futures
Agustí Fernández de Losada
Cities in times of pandemics
First in the Western world: Milan goes from boom-town to emergency hot-spot
Andrea Tobia Zevi
Barcelona’s CoronavirusMakers: Co-producing local solutions to a global pandemic
Hannah Abdullah and Jordi Reynés Garcés
Berlin: Pragmatic solidarity to face COVID-19
London and COVID-19: Too complex for one government?
Vienna’s human rights approach to the coronavirus crisis
Zurich’s COVID-19 response: A national response orchestrated by a federal government
San Francisco Bay Area: Everything must change
Shut down or adapt? Pandemic-era infrastructure in a divided Chicago
Can COVID accelerate the metropolitan unity of Greater Buenos Aires?
COVID-19 in Cape Town: Initial state and civil society responses
Susan Parnell and Cara Mazetti Claassen
From crisis to crisis? Melbourne in the midst of COVID-19
Hong-Kong’s head start in tackling the new coronavirus
Mee Kam Ng
COVID-19: A mirror for the urban world’s contradictions
Octavi de la Varga Mas